Tolar at Blooming Grove
7:30 p.m. Friday
At Lions Stadium
RECORDS: Class 2A Blooming Grove is 6-1, 3-1 in District 6-2A DII. Class 2A Tolar is 5-2, 3-1.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Blooming Grove: QB/S Jayd Kirby, RB/LB Travis Whiteside, OL/DL Anthony Black, S Josh Linton. Tolar: RB Cory Solomon, QB Corbin Wood, LB Zayne Gumler, L Weston Phillips.
When Tolar has the ball …
The Rattlers have an explosive attack led by Solomon. Tolar’s go-to guy already has 1,087 yards rushing in only seven games. The junior had 164 yards on 19 carries last week against Mildred, including a 62-yard TD run. Two weeks ago he ran for 231 yards and six TDs against Millsap. Wood is a solid quarterback who can throw and run, and is perhaps most effective when flushed from the pocket. Last week, sophomore Dakota Endsley was 11-of-15 passing for 112 yards.
When Blooming Grove has the ball …
The Lions’ offense centers around QB Kirby, who ran for 283 yards and seven touchdowns on 35 carries and was 11 of 14 passing for 190 yards and a score last week against Scurry-Rosser. The senior has 1,116 yards and 18 TDs rushing this season with 811 yards and seven TDs passing on the season. Whiteside caught four passes for 128 yards last week, while running back Tyler Morris rushed for 57 yards on four totes and caught a 7-yard TD pass.
Both offenses have been able to move the ball all season. As both teams battle for sole possession of second place in district, big plays, turnovers and field position will be key. The Lions defense was led last week by Linton, who recorded a career-high 12 tackles, while Kirby and Daniel Camarillo each had an interception. Camarillo, a sophomore, had a second pick negated by a penalty.
The Lions’ defense matches up well. The big thing Blooming Grove has to avoid is giving up the big play to Solomon, who can go. The Lions’ turnover trend of late favors them big time. They are forcing takeaways and not giving it away. If the Lions do it again Friday night, they’ll pull of a minor upset of Tolar. Blooming Grove 38, Tolar 31.
— Todd Wills